2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.0
22. Miami Dolphins: Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State
The Dolphins traded for Bryant McKinnie. That happened in real life. Miami has to find some answers at its tackle positions, even if the top few prospects there are off the board. Erving’s a high-risk, high-reward pick here — a player who could develop into a long-term starter on Ryan Tannehill’s blindside.
23. Dallas Cowboys: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
Buckeye run. And for the Cowboys, who have not gotten what they hoped they would from Bruce Carter this season, this pick might feel like a steal. Shazier is undersized compared to the prototypical 4-3 OLB, but he gets to the football over and over again.
24. Cleveland Browns — via Indianapolis: Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Boyd is going to be a hotly-debated prospect from now until the draft. Everything from his height to the great help he received from WRs such as Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins will go under the microscope. For the Browns, this pick is two-fold: 1. They still have to roll the dice on a potential franchise QB, even more so after adding a second first-round pick in the Trent Richardson trade; and 2. Boyd can stretch the field, which jibes well with Rob Chudzinski’s vertical-passing system.
25. Cincinnati Bengals: Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
In paying Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, the Bengals all but assured that DE Michael Johnson would leave via free agency this summer. And in drafting Beasley, they would uncover a cheaper and possibly as-productive replacement.
26. San Francisco 49ers: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
The 49ers have been searching for corner help since the offseason, which explains moves to add Nnamdi Asomugha (later waived) and Eric Wright. Verrett does not have top-end size at the position, but he’s demonstrated shutdown abilities throughout his career.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
The Chiefs ought to fly to the podium in the event that Lee falls into their laps. They remain shy of demonstrable talent at the receiver position, outside of Dwayne Bowe (and despite a solid season from Donnie Avery). Lee can get open and can make defenders look silly once he has the ball in his hands.
28. New England Patriots: Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Hageman plays smaller than his 300-pound frame would indicate, but it’s that size that would up his value for a New England team that lost Vince Wilfork and then traded for Isaac Sopoaga this season. The Patriots covet guys who can both anchor and press into the backfield from the DT spot, and Hageman has those traits.
29. Carolina Panthers: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vandy
Not nearly enough attention has been paid yet to the second tier of receivers in this class — guys like Matthews, Jared Abbrederis, Tevin Reese or Jeremy Gallon who are destined to be productive pros. Matthews may not burn a lot of defenses deep, but he’s an ultra-reliable receiver at all areas of the field. He could complement Steve Smith now, then take over for him down the line.
30. New Orleans Saints: Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
Considered really going for broke with someone like Oregon RB DeAnthony Thomas here — he’d be the eventual replacement for Darren Sproles, who has one year left on his contract and has battled injuries in 2013. But the line, particularly in relation to RT Zach Strief, needs a boost. Richardson, though a tad raw, does his best work as a pass-blocker — no small note, given Drew Brees’ presence in New Orleans.
31. Denver Broncos: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
With Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Champ Bailey and Quentin Jammer in the CB rotation, the Broncos could stand to get younger there. There is not much of a gap, if any, between the four CBs already taken and Gilbert. He’s a well-built corner who does not hesitate to fly up in run support.
32. Seattle Seahawks: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
The rich get richer. Amaro’s in the midst of a huge year with the Red Raiders (98 catches for 1,240 yards), and he would absolutely devastate defenses up the seams in Seattle’s efficient offense. Zach Miller has done a serviceable job as Seattle’s tight end, but Amaro would represent a step up at that position.